Who Will Be Next To Go?

It seems a foregone conclusion that Jeff Sessions’ job is likely to be toast shortly after the November mid-term elections, and it isn’t surprising, since Trump has been threatening him almost daily since he rightly recused himself from the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  But there is another head that’s likely to be on the chopping block after the mid-terms and this one needs to be taken seriously as well.

More and more, Secretary of Defense James Mattis is coming under fire from Trump.  I’ll go into some of the reasons in a minute, but Jeff Davis, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy after serving as a spokesman for the defense secretary sums it up, I think, in two sentences:

“Secretary Mattis lives by a code that is part of his DNA. He is genetically incapable of lying, and genetically incapable of disloyalty.”

He is, at the very core, the exact opposite of Donald Trump.

The probably firing of Mattis has absolutely nothing to do with Mattis’ job performance.  According to Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee …

“Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job. His departure would, first of all, create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.”

But Donald Trump’s first priority when it comes to his staff is not whether the person is qualified, but whether he or she is loyal.  Which is not to say that Jim Mattis is not loyal, for he is, but his loyalty is to his country, not to the man-child who makes decisions based on almost anything except logic.  One of the problems, according to a number of people, is that Mattis is frequently referred to as “the adult in the room”, indicating that in the chaos of this administration and amid the temper tantrums of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, Mattis’ is the voice of reason.

When Trump, for no apparent reason, announced via tweets that trans-gender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, Mattis announced that trans-gender service members will continue to be allowed to serve pending the results of a study.Trump-MattisWhen Trump demanded that military families no longer be allowed to accompany service members deployed to South Korea, Mattis refused, saying it could be seen by North Korea as a precursor to war.  Mattis and Trump have also been at odds over NATO and Trump’s unwise decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.  Possibly one of the biggest issues Trump has with Mattis is that despite Trump’s numerous requests that Mattis appear on Fox and Friends in order to praise Trump’s agenda, Mattis has declined to do so.

And then there is the Bob Woodward book, Fear:  Trump in the White House, where Mattis is quoted as having likened Trump’s intellect to that of a “fifth or sixth grader”.  Well … sounds about right to me!

There have been other disagreements:

  • In June, Trump ordered Mattis to set up a Space Force over the defense secretary’s objections that such a move would weigh down an already cumbersome bureaucracy.

  • In July, Trump blew up a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Mattis and other national security officials had worked on for months. The Pentagon chief and others saved the final agreement only because they shielded it from the president and urged envoys to complete it before Trump arrived in Brussels.

  • In August, Trump undercut Mr. Mattis after a news conference at the Pentagon in which the defense secretary suggested that the United States military would resume war games on the Korean Peninsula. The exercises had been suspended — against Mr. Mattis’s advice — after Trump met with Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. “There is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,” Trump tweeted.

MattisWhy should we care?  First, because the truth is that James Mattis is, in reality, often the only ‘adult in the room’.  The fate of Mattis is important because he is widely viewed — by foreign allies and adversaries but also by the traditional national security establishment in the United States — as the cabinet official standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.  Mattis is highly popular with the men and women of the American military. Most of the rest of his fans are people that Trump does not care about: Democrats, establishment Republicans and American allies.  It is for this reason that Mattis’ job is safe until after November 6th, for even Trump realizes that it is not likely to be a popular move.

Obviously, I am not a close personal friend of Mattis, and thus have not had a conversation with him of late, but my best guess is that if Trump fires Mattis, it will come as something of a relief to the often-beleaguered Defense Secretary.  The constant chaos, disagreement and denigration have to take a toll.  I have often said, I wouldn’t last five minutes in the Trump administration, and I think those with a conscience, those who are determined to ‘do the right thing’, must breathe a sigh of relief on their way out.  I hope the observers who predict Mattis’ termination are wrong, for this nation needs him, but I suspect they are right, for he is a good man, an intelligent man, and those are not traits that are valued in the White House today.  Time will tell.

Today in the ‘Alternative Universe’ …

A few headlines caught my eye today …

Trump’s FEMA chief under investigation over use of official cars

I have to ask the question:  Is there anybody in this administration who is not under investigation???  A quick 10-minute search turns up …

  • David Shulkin – Former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs – spent more than $122,000 of department money on a 10-day trip to the UK and Denmark in July 2017—which involved only three and a half days of meetings. A government investigation into the trip found he had committed several “serious derelictions,” including bringing his wife on the trip at the taxpayer’s expense and improperly accepting free Wimbledon tickets.
  • Steve Mnuchin – Secretary of the Treasury – requested a government plane to take his wife on a honeymoon to Europe, and has come under fire for spending nearly $1 million on just seven trips.
  • Scott Pruitt – Former EPA Administrator – spent $168,000 on charter, military, and first class flights in his first year in office, despite EPA guidelines saying he should travel coach. The trips often included weekend layovers in his home state of Oklahoma. Pruitt splashed around $43,000 on a sound-proof phone booth in his office (to name only a few!).
  • Ryan Zinke – Secretary of the Interior – failing to keep proper records of his travel, been criticized for booking charter flights, and taken helicopters costing thousands of dollars when he could have taken a car. He spent $139,000 on new office doors (following a slew of embarrassing headlines, he says he has cut their cost by nearly half).
  • Ben Carson – Secretary of HUD – ordered a $31,000 dining set. The inspector general of Carson’s agency is also investigating whether Carson broke ethics rules by involving his son, the owner of a private equity firm, in government activities.
  • Tom Price – Former Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) – spent more than $1 million of taxpayer funds on his own travel in private jets.
  • Wilbur Ross – Secretary of Commerce – pledged to recuse himself from any matters involving his shipping interests, but he negotiates trade deals that could benefit some of his shipping interests.
  • Betsy DeVos – Secretary of Education – despite a potential conflict of interest, increased by as much as $10.5 million her investment in Neurocore, a company that offers brain performance training to children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, autism and depression.

And then there are the ones tagged by Robert Mueller in his investigation:

  • Paul Manafort
  • Michael Cohen
  • Michael Flynn
  • Rick Gates
  • George Papadopoulos
  • Jared Kushner
  • Stephen Miller
  • Don Trump, Jr.

And the list goes on … and on … where it ends, nobody knows!

Oh … and I left out another who, in addition to being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller …

  • Donald J. Trump – continues to earn money from his businesses. The Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., has become a fundraising mecca for special interest groups, foreign governments, Republicans and GOP-aligned groups. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort doubled its initiation fee after Trump’s election. Trump has also visited his properties more than 100 times since he was elected, according to news organizations that have tracked his travels.

All of this could explain why Walter Shaub, who resigned from his position as Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) said on his way out, “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”

Do I recall somebody promising to “Drain the Swamp”???swamp-3

Trump pushes conspiracy theory about Puerto Rico death toll

“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000. … This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

That’s right, folks … the death toll, reported by George Washington University, was cooked up by some unnamed, evil democrats who only want to make Trump look bad.  Does anybody else feel like just slapping this man across the face … over and over again?

The hue & cry was almost immediate, with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz saying, “This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!”.  Representative Bennie G. Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, called on Trump to resign. “The fact that the President will not take responsibility for his Administration’s failures and will not even recognize that thousands have perished shows us, once again, that he is not fit to serve as our President.”

Even Paul Ryan, while not directly mentioning Trump’s tweet, said “This was a function of a devastating storm hitting an isolated island, and that is really no one’s fault. The casualties mounted for a long time, and I have no reason to dispute those numbers.”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker was quick to issue Trump’s claim a ‘Four Pinocchio’ rating.

4 pinocchios

Populist Donald Trump drains swamp with fundraiser where he profits off $70,000 pictures with him

According to The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, the cheapest entry price is $35,000 per couple, which entitles an attendee to dinner. A “photo opportunity” with Trump costs $70,000, while participating in a roundtable with the president requires $100,000.

Now I ask you … who in their right mind would pay $70,000 to have their picture taken with … a slimeball???  And by the way … the purpose of the fundraiser is his 2020 campaign.  Shoot me now.swamp-2

The fun just never stops, does it?  Have a great evening, folks!

Trump Picks More Losers …

The rollback of regulations that were meant to protect the environment and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord were bad enough.  The nomination of climate change deniers Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke to top positions in agencies whose primary functions pertained to protecting the environment added insult to injury.  And now, to ice the cake, Trump has appointed William Happer for the key job of “senior director for emerging technologies” at the National Security Council.Will-Happer-climate-science-denierWant to know what’s wrong with William Happer?  Happer is a “theoretical physicist”, whatever the heck that is, at Princeton, and is one of the most demented climate change deniers in existence.  Here are just a few of the things he has to say about climate science …

  • In Defense of Carbon Dioxide: “The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.”

  • “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda.”

  • “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”  Say WHAT???

  • “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

So, just what qualifies him for this position?  Well, for many years, he was chairman of the board of the George C. Marshall Institute, which was funded in part by the Koch brothers to promote climate science denial.  He also writes and co-signs anti-science Wall Street Journal op-eds.

Will-HapperThe reality is that Happer knows little about emerging technologies or real threats to America’s national security but he does know a great deal about denying climate science. And, sadly, that appears to be the only qualification you need to join the Trump team these days.

Another Trump nominee, J. Steven Gardner, had been nominated to lead the Interior Department’s mining agency, but withdrew his nomination earlier this week.  Gardner was a long-time coal advocate who applauded the decision last year to allow coal companies to dump their toxic waste into streams.

According to Tom Morris of the Sierra Club …

“Gardner has shown time and again that he will try and fight anything that gets in the way of profits for coal executives — even if it means sacrificing the health of the families and communities …”Steven GardnerLike Zinke, Pruitt, Happer and all the rest in the current administration, he is a denier of climate science.  Some of his beliefs:

  • Mining is simply “accelerated erosion”
  • Mountaintop mining is good because it creates flat land
  • There is no such thing as renewable energy

Fortunately, Gardner has withdrawn his nomination in light of the stalled confirmation process, and certain requirements by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) with which he was unwilling to comply.  Good riddance, but who will be next?  No doubt another person who doesn’t believe in science, but rather puts corporate profits above preserving our lives.Patrick Chappatte / International New York Times


The Dirtiest Game(s) in Town

Trump’s staff and cabinet are among the most corrupt people in the nation.  Remember EPA head Scott Pruitt and his abominable misuse … downright theft, actually … of taxpayer money?  Then there was Tom Price, Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) who wasted more than a quarter-million on charter flights to jet all over the country.Pruitt.pngPrice & Pruitt are gone, but the corruption remains. Take, for example, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Mulvaney has a friend, Michael O’Shaughnessy, back in his home district in South Carolina.  O’Shaughnessy is the founder and president of Element Electronics, a television assembly plant in Winnsboro, South Carolina.  O’Shaughnessy was also a financial contributor to Mulvaney’s 2016 Congressional campaign.

mulvaney toonElement Electronics stands to be seriously hurt by Trump’s tariffs, and O’Shaughnessy has said the plant will close in October if they cannot be exempted from the tariffs.  Mulvaney is doing everything in his power to see that an exemption is granted to Element.  Now, it isn’t that I am unsympathetic to the situation Element finds itself in, but many, many other companies are in the same boat, and is Mulvaney trying to help them?  No, because they are not owned by his friend.  Trump’s tariffs are destructive and despite his claims, are going to cost jobs and hurt the U.S. economy.  But we cannot single out only certain companies to help because they are friends of somebody on Trump’s staff or cabinet.Zinke toon.jpgAnd then there’s Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior who, at his confirmation hearing in January 2017, said, “I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land.”  And again, in March 2017 … “You can hear it from my lips. We will not sell or transfer public land.” Doesn’t that one remind you of that infamous Bush Sr. line: “Read my lips — No new taxes!”? And yet, last week watchdog environmental groups got wind that Zinke was negotiating to sell off some 1,610 acres of public lands that had been part of the Grand Staircase national monument until Trump radically shrunk the size of the monument last December.  The planned sale included 880,000 acres carved out by Trump from Grand Staircase and the 200,000 acres remaining in Bears Ears from its original 1.35 million acres.

The planned sale was cancelled last Friday, after questioning by the environmental groups, and Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt took the blame, saying it was an “oversight” …

“The failure to capture this inconsistency stops with me.”

Most, myself included, are not buying it, for Zinke surely cannot be so out of touch with the department he is tasked with overseeing that he was unaware of this.  These are public lands, folks … OUR land!  stompingIt does not belong to Mr. Zinke nor to Mr. Trump and it certainly is not their right to sell it.  I’m still not convinced they had the right to shrink it.

But Zinke’s corruption doesn’t end here.  Earlier this year, he and his wife entered into a business agreement with Halliburton, one of the world’s biggest oil field services firms and a company that, needless to say, does quite a bit of business with the U.S. government, including the Interior Department that Zinke oversees.  You can find the details here.ethics scrutiny.jpgAnd then there’s Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce who not only failed to properly divest himself of certain investments upon taking his position but has continued to meet in an official capacity with the chief executives of the companies in which he owns millions of dollars’ worth of stock.  There is no evidence that he discussed deals that could be considered conflict of interest, but there is the appearance of wrongdoing.  If I meet with a hitman, and the FBI gets wind of it, given my supreme dislike and public criticisms of Trump, guess what the FBI will assume, and guess where I’ll be going? Appearances are important in the eyes of the public.

Ross has denied wrongdoing but admitted only to “inadvertent errors”.  Last month, Ross came under fire by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for failure to divest certain holdings that he had agreed to do upon taking office. One of those holdings was Invesco, where Ross once worked and still owns stock valued at up to $50 million.  Ross recently met with a board member of the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund that had given Invesco money to manage.

Ross has met with auto executives who are customers of the company he founded and still has a financial interest in. He has met with the chief executive of a rail car manufacturer whose board he once sat on and whose shares he still owns.  Sorry, Wilbur, but there is too much smoke here for there not to be a fire somewhere.

Helaine Olen, an opinion writer for The Washington Post, recently began her column …

“At least once a week, a member of the Trump administration demonstrates in an entertaining way that public service can be a great way to make a buck.”

She hit that nail spot on the head, didn’t she?  But then, when the ‘man’ who is over all these people is the most corrupt leader in the western world … what else can you expect?drain the swampIsn’t it interesting that Trump’s administration contains some of the wealthiest people ever to hold government positions, and yet they are the most corrupt, bar none?  It would seem to me that this is as good an indicator as any that wealth is addictive, always seeking more, willing to go to great lengths to obtain more, not caring a whit who they step on in the process.  It rather reminds me of a drug addict who will do anything and everything, including murder, to get his next fix.  What’s next?  Stay tuned.

One Of The Biggest Grifters Ever, Wilbur Ross, Works In The White House

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is, like almost every single one of Trump’s cabinet picks, a real piece of work. I knew this from the beginning, but upon reading Gronda’s post, even I was amazed at just how greedy and dishonest Mr. Ross is! Please take a few minutes to read this post and understand just how Trump has, instead of draining the swamp, filled it up with some of the vilest creatures that walk on two legs! Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images of wilbur ross WILBUR ROSS

Remember the republican President Donald Trump’s promise frequently delivered to his fawning supporters while he was on the campaign trail, to drain the swamp in Washington DC. This is a promise that he’s not kept. Instead, he has filled the swamp with greedier insatiable swamp critters like the US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

As per a 8/7/18 Daily Beast report, “Wilbur Ross could be “among the biggest grifters in American history,” according to Forbes magazine, amid new allegations that he may have wrongly siphoned off more than $120 million from business associates. An investigation, citing 21 people who have worked with the man who is now President Trump’s commerce secretary, claims Ross stole “a few million here and a few million there” from various companies.   Forbes reports: “All told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million.” Ross’ former colleagues…

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The Fox is Guarding the Hen House …

Back in the days when I frequently made hiring decisions, my usual venue to search for employees was the local newspaper.  In the last few years of my career, I more often used CareerBuilder or Monster.com.  On a few occasions, when hiring for a higher-level position, I used headhunters.  But never in my most desperate moments would I have dreamed of using Fox News as an employment agency!

bill-shineToday came the announcement that Trump has hired Bill Shine, formerly of Fox News, to be the new communications director, a position previously held by Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Michael Dubke.  The position has been empty since Hicks left in March after testifying to the House Intelligence Committee that she had lied for Trump.

Shine comes with his own built-in set of controversies, as he was forced to leave Fox News in disgrace in May 2017.  Shine was accused of covering up for a number of sexual harassment cases within the network.  He had been known as Roger Ailes “fixer”, similar to the role Michael Cohen played for Trump.  Ailes was forced out amid a wave of sexual assault allegations that Shine, apparently, tried to cover up, but that later came back to bite him.  Hmmmm … it seems that he will fit right in with the immorality that exists in the White House, doesn’t it?

But this is not the first time Trump has sought to hire Fox News castoffs!

  • john-boltonNational Security Advisor, John Bolton, has been a Fox commentator/contributor for the past ten years.  When hired on by Trump, he indicated that he still considers himself a Fox contributor.

  • Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Heather Nauert, was an anchor on Fox and Friends since 2007, and was hired into the State Department in April 2017, promoted to her current position in March 2018.

  • White House Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp, was a Fox News contributor until her hiring in September 2017; however, she continues to appear regularly on Fox News.

  • Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Tony Sayegh, has been with Fox since 2009, and despite his duties in his new position, he still finds time to appear regularly on Fox News.

  • K.T. McFarland was hired by Trump shortly after the inauguration in January 2017, to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor under Michael Flynn.  McFarland was a Fox contributor since around 2010.  However, after Flynn’s resignation, she was asked to step down.

  • larry-kudlowAlthough this one comes from CNBC instead of Fox, it is worth noting that Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, was hired in March 2018 to replace Gary Cohn who decided he had enough of Trump’s ways.  Kudlow had his own program, The Kudlow Report, until he left to take the position Trump offered.

Given the number of these people who continue to be ‘Fox-friendly’, I have to suggest that we do, indeed, have a state-run media in the U.S., and its name is Fox News.

Bill Shine is known to be a close confidant of Trump’s best buddie Sean Hannity, and I see, with his hiring, even stronger ties between Fox and the White House.  Donald Trump’s main ‘claim to fame’ is his old television ‘reality’ show, The Apprentice.  Trump is an entertainer, a provocateur, and he is running our government like just another freak show.  Frankly, if she weren’t suing him, it wouldn’t surprise me for him to put Stormy Daniels in the position of Director of the Office of Cabinet Affairs!  A fitting position, don’t you think?stormy-danielsWe needed a president who thought with his head, one who understood the workings of government, foreign relations, and environmental concerns, to name a few.  We needed a president who had morals, values. We needed a president who represented the best interests of the people … all the people.  We needed an intelligent, compassionate president. Instead, we got Trump and his band of entertainers.  The White House has been turned into the entertainment capital of the nation.  Eat your heart out, Hollywood!


Alright, since Trump so loves to use those words, “You’re Fired”, then it’s time he used them to Mr. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  NOW!!!  This man is out of control, treating our tax money as his personal expense account and meanwhile doing nothing … absolutely nothing … positive toward the protection of the environment!  I thought I was done writing about him a few weeks ago, thought surely he would be fired within the week, but that has not happened, so I am baaaaaccckkk.

Despite all the scandals that just keep coming, yesterday afternoon Trump praised him!

“… EPA is doing really, really well, someone has to say that about you a little bit, you know that, Scott. People are really impressed with the job that’s being done at the EPA.”

Hello???  Excuse me???  What job?  What EPA, for that matter?  Just two days ago, it was reported that Pruitt had enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife Marlyn obtain and open a Chick-Fil-A franchise.  How does this pertain to the business of the Environmental Protection of the United States?  How does it pertain to anything other than increasing Scott and Marlyn’s wealth, which is already substantial, at least as compared to yours or mine.

When asked about the misuse of agency staff for a personal mission, Pruitt sounded just like Kellyanne, talking in circles all around the issue …

“I think with great change comes, you know, I think, opposition. I mean there’s significant change that’s happening for us, not only at the EPA but across this Administration, and it’s needed, and, uh, look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love Chick-Fil-A as a, as a franchise of faith, and it’s one of the best in the country, and so, that’s something we were very excited about.”

SOOOO????  I love P.F. Chang’s, too, but I’m not going to lie, cheat and steal to own one!  I will just go eat there once a month or so, and pay my check and leave a tip like everybody else.

But it gets even better … and remember, all this is just in the last week.  Prior to last week, he already had twelve federal investigations into his activities!  TWELVE!!!In December, Pruitt attended a University of Kentucky basketball game as a guest of coal baron Joseph W. Craft III, who has been lobbying the EPA on behalf of his coal company, Alliance Resource Partners.  Pruitt and Craft have met no less than seven times in a fourteen-month period.

And also last week, it was reported that Mr. Pruitt had visited a jewelry store in Washington where he spent $3,230 of taxpayer money!  What, you ask, did he buy?  Well, $1,560 went to buy 12 fountain pens.  $130 per pen.  WHY???  I buy a 12-pack of pens for $5.99 and they write just fine!  And anyway, doesn’t the GAO provide such things as pens, legal pads and toilet tissue?  I do not know quite what the other $1,670 was spent on, but we are told it was “gifts to the Administrator’s foreign counterparts and dignitaries upon his meeting with them.”Prior to any of the above, Pruitt was already under investigation for a host of potential crimes, including frequent first-class personal travel at taxpayer’s expense, inappropriate relations with representatives of the coal mining industry, unnecessary sweeping 24-hour security measures that have cost the EPA roughly $3.5 million, and more.

And amid all the scandal, Pruitt’s top aide, Millan Hupp, resigned on Monday – Friday will be her last day.  Hupp, as the director of scheduling and advance, has been entangled in many of the scandals dogging Pruitt.  She was one of two aides who received hefty salary bumps, even after the White House refused Pruitt’s request for raises. She recently testified to the House Oversight Committee that she regularly spent her days doing personal tasks for Pruitt, from hunting for housing to calling the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., in order to inquire about purchasing a used mattress.  Yes, you heard me right … for some unknown reason, Herr Pruitt wished to buy a used mattress from Trump Towers.  Ick. Pruitt’s top legal counsel, Sarah Greenwalt, also gave her resignation.

The democrats in Congress have long been fed-up with Pruitt’s costly antics, but this week, even the republicans are tired of it.

“I’m not going to come down here, just because he happens to be a nominee of a president I support or a nominee from my party, and try to defend the indefensible. I thought that Mr. Pruitt would have learned his lesson.” – Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana

“Some are true; some are not true. Whether he can weather the storm, I’m not sure. The accusations are all troubling. They are.” – Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of OklahomaThis man thinks the U.S. Treasury is his own personal bank account.  Remember Trump’s claim that he would “drain the swamp”.  Instead, he put Pruitt, the granddaddy of all alligators in it and feeds him well every day, at the White House mess, as it happens.  According to an article in Politico, Pruitt has been eating at the White House mess nearly every day … so often that he has been asked to cut back and “please eat elsewhere sometimes.”

It is past time for Scott Pruitt to hear the words, “You’re Fired”.  It is past time for We The People to demand accountability, starting with this very worst example of corruption, thievery and violations of ethics.  And it is far past time for Congress to demand that the Director of the EPA be fired without severance!  No, Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt is not doing an “impressive” job at the EPA, for he is far too busy wheeling and dealing, and wasting OUR money!

No Way To Treat Our Friends …

grenellRichard Grenell is yet another slap in the face by Trump to our European allies, particularly Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Before I delve into his most recent faux pas, let me tell you a bit about Mr. Grenell.

First, he was nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Germany by Donald Trump in October 2017, although he was not confirmed by the Senate until late April 2018.  Why, you may ask?  Because the democrats in the Senate had concerns over his fitness for the position.  Turns out, they were right to be concerned, but I will get to that in just a moment.

Grenell once served as an aide to John Bolton, the recently named national security advisor and a known warmonger famous for his desire to bomb both Iran and North Korea.  Grenell is also a contributor to Fox News.  As a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, Grenell worked on sanctions and restrictions against Iran in response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Grenell has been an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear deal … you know … the one that Trump reneged on last month.

But all of that aside, the democrats had another good reason for concern where Grenell was concerned:  he is a xenophobe … an outspoken critic of women, especially those who hold power in government.  As a commentator on Fox, he has mocked Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and others.  During his confirmation hearings, he was asked about his seeming aversion to women in politics.  He pulled a Roseanne Barr and said …

“There are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous.”

Sorry, but not good enough.  Remember, if you will, that he was nominated to be the Ambassador to Germany … the most populous nation in the EU, and also a nation who just happens to have a female chancellor.  To add insult to injury, Trump has more than once criticized Chancellor Merkel and has made clear his disdain for her.  Ultimately Grenell was confirmed by the Senate, sworn in and traveled to Germany to begin his new job.

Now, let’s clarify for just a brief second what, exactly, the job of an ambassador is.

“All ambassadors officially represent the U.S. government on behalf of the president in treaty negotiations, immigration discussions, foreign aid projects and humanitarian aid programs. Ambassadors supervise and lead all foreign service employees in the country where they work. As the chief executive of the U.S. embassy, an ambassador also monitors the activities of all U.S. personnel who work for any federal agency in their jurisdiction. The ambassador and his/her staff also aid Americans traveling in the country and provide security for U.S. citizens during emergencies and natural disasters.”

The starting salary for U.S. ambassadors, by the way, is $126,148, and the maximum is $189,600.

Richard Grenell arrived in Germany to take up his post on May 8th, just under a month ago, and already he has stirred ire and contention on both sides of the pond.  So far, he has criticized Germany’s NATO spending, calling it ‘woeful’, and criticized Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policy.  But the worst was his interview a few days ago with … of all things … Breitbart!  And here is what he said that has stirred the political pot …

“There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on.  I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.”

WittigTo put it into context, consider if Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, when he first came to the U.S. in 2014, had said that Barack Obama’s policies were failures and that he was looking forward to helping more republicans win congressional races.

Ambassadors are intended and expected to be completely neutral in the domestic politics of the countries in which they serve.  Period.  We do not send ambassadors to other nations to choose sides and campaign for candidates or policies.  They are there to represent the U.S.

Grenell didn’t stop there, though.  Grenell named immigration, tax cuts, and cutting red tape as major conservative issues to focus on as part of a winning strategy. He then went on to say he’s a “big fan” of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has sharply criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies. Last year, Kurz’s party also formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, which was founded by Nazis.

It almost feels as if Trump has planted a ticking time bomb in Germany.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday that Grenell would have to “explain what he meant” during his first official visit on Thursday. One German politician, Lars Klingbeil, tweeted to Grenell …

I know you are still quite new at your post, but it is not part of the job description of an ambassador to interfere in the politics of his guest country, Mr @RichardGrenell #thankyou — 6:00 AM – Jun 4, 2018

Another, Omid Nouripour, said Grenell’s comments “give the impression that the new US ambassador still hasn’t adjusted to his new role. At least the Russians make an effort not to be seen to be meddling in other countries’ affair. [sic]

trump-merkelTrump has already created an atmosphere of distrust among our allies by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, pulling out of the TPP, reneging on our commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, criticizing our allies, and just last week placing unwarranted tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU.  He has insulted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion.  And now the ambassador he sends to Germany has offended at least half the nation.  I have to ask … is total mass destruction of planet earth his intent?  He loves to take credit for things, especially big things.  Does he figure to start WWIII and then take credit for having had the biggest button?

My Choice, Ms. Sanders, Is …

According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders …

“Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president.”

Well, well, well.  Thank you so much, Ms. Sanders, for that apples-to-oranges comparison, and for explaining to me what I must do.  Aren’t you just the epitome of wisdom? Sanders-patriotismBut please allow me to explain some things to you, Ms. Sanders.

Quite honestly, at this point, I am not at all proud of my country.  Now, you will notice that I did not say I don’t like this country and what it stood for until recently.  I did not say that I don’t support the basis of our governmental system.  And I certainly did not say that I would like to see this nation destroyed.  Love?  I don’t think of my feelings toward this or any other nation as love.  I reserve love for the feelings I may have toward a handful of people, or my Significant Seven.

Many of the very things I hate today about this country are inextricably tied to Mr. Trump.  Allow me to name a few:

  • The wave of white supremacy that, while it did not begin with Donald Trump, has been legitimized and encouraged by him since he first began his campaign in 2015. Slugs and other slimy creatures are crawling out from under rocks and threatening the very diversity upon which this nation was founded.  Meanwhile, Trump is turning over even more rocks by referring to white supremacists and neo-Nazis as ‘very fine people’.

  • The lack of morals and values that has filtered down from the very top, from Trump himself. When the leader of a nation brags about his sexual exploitation of women, even sometimes young girls, when he flaunts his extramarital affairs and supports sexual predators within his own ranks, what sort of example does that set?  What does that say to our children and grandchildren about respecting others?

  • The denigration of the poor by Trump and republicans in Congress. The “let them eat cake” attitude of Trump’s hand-picked Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson.  The foolish attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) simply because Trump doesn’t like President Obama, costing millions of people to lose access to health care.  And let us not forget the truly horrible tax plan of last year that almost exclusively benefits only the wealthy, including most republicans in Congress, and also Trump himself.

  • The near-total dishonesty that emanates from not only Trump, but also from all his minions, including yourself, Ms. Sanders. Trump’s lies started, in all likelihood, as soon as he learned to use words.  His lies to this country began on his first day in office when he claimed that the number of people who attended his inauguration was far greater than it was, and he hasn’t had a single day that he hasn’t lied to us about something since then.  You, Ms. Sanders, should be ashamed that you stand at that podium, day after day, and feed those very same lies to we, the people, of this republic.

  • The pitting of left vs right, republican vs democrat, liberal vs conservative. Trump has so divided this nation, more so than it has been at any time since the end of the Civil War, more than 150 years ago, by blaming democrats for everything that goes wrong and screeching his divisive rhetoric at campaign-style rallies and on Twitter, rather than addressing the citizenry in an appropriate manner.  He continues to blame the past administration for his own failures and continues to demand his masses chant “Lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton. This, more than the threat of terrorism, is a threat to our national security. Ever hear the quote “United we stand, Divided we fall”?  Think about that one, Ms. Sanders.

  • The denigration of the legitimate, mainstream press, while praising such conspiracy theorists as Sean Hannity and Alex Jones. When he calls the press, the honest press, “the enemy of the people”, he does a disservice not only to the legitimate press who make reporting of facts their business, but also to the people of this nation, for there are always some who are eager to believe him.  He is basically telling the American people to believe nobody but him, and that is a very dangerous stance.

  • The bigotry that has set civil rights back at least 50 years. He has supported hate groups, while denigrating the LGBT community with his attempts to keep them out of the military.  He has promoted xenophobia with his hateful rhetoric against Muslims and Mexicans, and his travel bans and calls for ridiculous multi-billion dollar border walls.  And he has even publicly, in front of perhaps millions of people, mocked a disabled man. How low, Ms. Sanders, can one get?

  • The blatant disregard for the climate science and scientists, while attempting to re-energize the fossil fuel industry which is destroying our planet. Almost every single scientist who has studied climate science agrees that the pollutants humans are putting into the air, soil and water are destroying the earth’s atmosphere and that by the time your grandchildren are adults, the planet may well be unable to sustain its population.  Yet, Donald Trump, claims it is all bunk (it is not) and continues to promote the use of very damaging fossil fuels.  He also made the U.S. an object of scorn and ridicule when he announced his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords, making the U.S. the only nation on the entire planet to fail in helping preserve and protect our earth.

  • The hiring of the most un-qualified people for cabinet positions, that has already led to deterioration of our educational system, our trade policies, our foreign policy, our law enforcement community, our environment, our election process, and much more. It appears that he tried very hard to find, not only the most unqualified people for the job, but those who had a history of trying to shut down the very agencies for which they were nominated.

  • His already-proven obstruction of justice, collusion to ‘buy’ his way into the Oval Office at the potential cost of our national security. Top that off with his constant rhetoric that Robert Mueller’s investigation into this matter constitutes a ‘witch hunt’, and his dishonesty continues to grow much as did Pinocchio’s nose.

I could go on, but I have provided you sufficient evidence to support my answer to your question. When all of these things are taken together and given careful consideration, when I look around at our country today – the hate speech, the divisiveness, the violence – I would have to say, Ms. Sanders, that if you claim I must choose between loving my country, or hating Trump … I hate Trump for what he has done to the country I was once proud of.  I hope this answers your question.

More Clowns Join The Circus Of Horrors …

The Trump administration is having trouble finding people to fill positions.  Recently, two attorneys declined an offer to join Trump’s legal team, which has lost one person and another is set to leave.  Another lawyer was disqualified due to conflict of interest.  Few people are masochistic enough to actually want to work for Donald Trump, to join in the chaos and toxicity that defines the atmosphere in the White House.  So, what to do?  Look to different venues for a pool from which to hire, of course.  And that is just what Trump & Co are doing.  What venue, you ask?  Well, television, for one …The most recent, announced on Wednesday, is Caroline Sunshine.  She is 22-years-old and was hired as a ‘press assistant’.  Her qualifications?  Well, she was in a Disney series about teen dancers, called Shake It Up for three years, from 2010 – 2013.  And … um … she has had a role in a few movies.  And … she … well, let’s cut to the chase, people … she is young and pretty.  That is her biggest qualification.

Then there was Larry Kudlow, who was hired from CNBC to replace Gary Cohn as director of the White House National Economic Council.  Kudlow’s qualifications include a stint on Wall Street with Bear Stearns, a position he was forced to resign in light of his drug addiction.  Since then, he has been a host and commentator on CNBC.  He’s the one I wrote about before, the one who said the Bush economy was alive and well in December 2007, just days before the financial crisis of 2008 began.  And now he is Trump’s top financial advisor.  What could possibly go wrong?

Let us not forget that earlier this month, Trump hired Fox News contributor John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor.  Bolton is a warmonger, a man whose motto would seem to be, “bomb first, ask questions later”, since at various times he has advocated bombing both North Korea and Iran.  He briefly held the position of Ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, but stepped down when it appeared that the Senate would not confirm his appointment. What qualifies him for this position?  Nothing that I can see.  He has never served in the military, has never studied another region of the world, or another period of history, and he is a strong advocate of using war rather than diplomacy to solve problems.  I repeat, what could possibly go wrong?

And some of you may not have heard of Heather Nauert, a former Fox News contributor and correspondent.  She was hired in April 2017 to be the State Department Spokesperson.  And then, just this month, with the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Nauert was promoted to acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.  What qualifies her for either of these two positions?  Darned if I know … I think the blonde hair may have something to do with it, though.

Mercedes Schlapp, a Fox News contributor and occasional columnist for other publications, was hired in September 2017 as Director of Strategic Communications.  Strategic, eh?  The latest rumour is that she is likely to be tapped to replace Hope Hicks as White House Communications Director. Her qualifications include that she is against same-sex marriage, hated Obama, and is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).  Oh, and like Sunshine and Nauert, her looks  may well have given her an edge.

And finally, there’s Tony Sayegh.  Tony was also a Fox News contributor (anyone starting to see a pattern here?), and also a correspondent for Talk Media News, and even once served as deputy mayor of Tuckahoe, New York, population 6,615.  Tony was hired in March 2017 as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.  Tony, at least, has a degree in Political Science, which none of the aforementioned do, but he is, nonetheless, misplaced in his job, for his position would be better served by degrees in economics and finance.  At least we know he didn’t likely get hired for his blond hair or other physical qualifications.

Now, I ask you to think about this for a few minutes, dear readers.  Apart from the most obvious concern, that none of these people have the experience needed for the positions they are in, there are other potential pitfalls.  First, at this rate, Fox News will have to shut down for lack of people to fill the airwaves with propaganda!  But my concern is … what are the other possibilities?

Think about the uber-obnoxious Tucker Carlson to replace Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Or … what about conspiracy-theorist Sean Hannity to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General?  What’s that you say … Sean doesn’t have a law degree?  So what … this is the alternative universe of Trump, where the only real requirement for a job is that you are the least qualified candidate, that you are loyal to Trump, and that you understand the concept of un-truth.  That makes Sean a perfect fit.  Or, picture the foul-mouthed Laura Ingraham replacing John Kelly as Trump’s Chief of Staff?  Feeling sick yet?  🤢Oh … and there is one more newly hired person who did not come from television, but in fact was Trump’s personal doctor!  David Shulkin was fired from his job as head of Veteran’s Affairs this week (I will have more on this later), and is being replaced by doc Ronny Jackson.  Personally, I think this is Ronny’s reward for lying and saying that Trump was mentally and physically fit for his job.

And there you have it, folks.  No more looking to top, qualified and experienced people to fill the positions that our tax dollars pay for … from this point forward, they will come from television, most likely Fox and Breitbart, and from a pool of personal acquaintances to whom Trump is indebted in one way or another!  I guess if we cannot get good governance, we may as well enjoy the entertainment value of this Circus of Horrors.